LOCALS IN THE NFL

What To Expect From Jordan Love’s First Start With Packers

Nov 5, 2021, 5:05 PM | Updated: 6:34 pm
Jordan Love - Green Bay Packers...
Quarterback Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Packers defeated the Cardinals 24-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love will start for the Green Bay Packers in their Week 9 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs will host the Packers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, November 7.

Love will replace Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay’s QB1 after the future hall of fame thrower tested positive for COVID-19.

“This is something he’s been preparing for, for really his whole life,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said on November 5. “Now, it’s his opportunity to go out there and showcase what he can do.”

It will be the former Utah State star’s first career start in the NFL.

“I prepared for this, and I’m confident in myself,” Love recently told the media.

Jordan Love and the Packers

Love was selected by the Packers during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Green Bay traded up in order to pick their quarterback of the future.

Despite his high selection, Love was inactive for each of Green Bay’s games during his rookie campaign. Green Bay fell one win short of reaching the Super Bowl in Love’s first season.

Amid a rocky offseason full of drama between the Packers and Rodgers, Love took charge of the offense during the summer and in Green Bay’s preseason games before suffering a small shoulder injury.

Rodgers and the organization eventually reached an agreement that saw the veteran quarterback return to the Wisconsin franchise for the 2021 season, a season that many experts predict will be his final season with the team.

Now, Rodgers is dealing with COVID-19, his non-vaccination status, and his disregard for part of the league’s NFL health and safety protocols. The factors, along with the offseason drama, could speed up the process for Green Bay to move on from Rodgers. They also put more pressure on Love in what is already a difficult game against the 2020 Super Bowl champions.

Sunday’s meeting with Kansas City is a huge opportunity for Love to prove that he is the guy to take over for Rodgers long-term.

Jordan Love in 2021

As I mentioned above, Love didn’t receive any playing time as a rookie. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 NFL season was unlike any other. Love was unable to participate in a normal offseason as a rookie and the league didn’t have any preseason exhibitions.

The former Utah State star saw his first action as a Packer during the 2021 preseason in August.

Love’s first real action in a regular season game came during Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints.

Through the first eight weeks of the season, Love has appeared in two games, Week 1 against the Lions and eight days later against the Detroit Lions. He’s thrown for 68 yards on 5/7 passing with zero touchdowns and no interceptions. Love has been sacked once. He owns a season rating of 102.1 and a QBR of 37.9.

What to expect from Jordan Love’s first start?

Love hasn’t had the same opportunity or experience as many first round quarterbacks do when they enter the league. Many top rookies see playing times, including as starters, almost immediately in today’s NFL. Unlike most of the quarterbacks from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Love is sitting on the bench behind an all-time great quarterback and is still waiting for his turn.

A lot of parallels have been drawn between Love & Rodgers and Rodgers & NFL legend Brett Favre.

Like Love, Rodgers had to wait his turn to play in the NFL.

Like Love, the Packers selected Rodgers in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Like Love, Green Bay sat Rodgers behind a great quarterback for multiple seasons.

Like Rodgers, Love will eventually get his opportunity. The first part of that opportunity comes against the Chiefs.

Nobody should expect Love to play like last year’s NFL MVP against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, including Love himself.

I think Love needs to do two things in order to have Sunday be a success:

  1. Run the offense
  2. Don’t commit big mistakes

Green Bay has a talented roster full of excellent players that will lift Love up. The Packers are 7-1 this season and not only because of Rodgers.

Love doesn’t need to be Superman. He needs to be Jordan Love, NFL quarterback, Utah State. I think the Packers can win if Love leads the offense and doesn’t give the ball away with interceptions or fumbles.

I predict a similar stat line for Love to that of Rodgers’ first NFL start.

Aaron Rodgers’ First Start – 2008 Week 1 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Statistics: 18/22 passing for 178 yards and one touchdown, eight carries for 35 yards and a touchdown

Result: Won 24-19

Prediction: Jordan Love – 2021 Week 9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Statistics: 20/26 passing for 200 yards and two touchdowns, five carries for 20 yards

Result: Win 27-24

Packers vs. Chiefs

Love believes he is prepared. He also has the confidence of his head coach.

“I think he’s come a long way, but by no means is he a finished product,” LaFleur said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for him to get his feet wet for the first time in a meaningful game, being that it’s the regular season. So it’ll be a great learning experience for him, and I’m just excited for his opportunity.”

Green Bay’s game against Kansas City kicks off on Sunday, November 7 at 2:25 p.m. (MDT) on FOX.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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